Ghostbusters Ray Parker Jr.
Ray Erskine Parker Jr. (birthed May 1, 1954) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor. As a solo performer, he wrote as well as performed the theme song to the 1984 film Ghostbusters. He also performed with his band, Raydio, and also with Barry White.
Parker in 2013
Ray Erskine Parker Jr.
May 1, 1954 (age 65)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor
- RaydioJerry KnightStevie WonderBarry WhiteCheryl LynnMichael Henderson
Parker was born in Detroit to Venolia Parker and Ray Parker Sr. He has two siblings, his brother Opelton as well as his sister Barbara. Parker went to Angel Elementary School where his music teacher, Afred T Kirby, influenced him to be a musician at age 6 playing the clarinet. Parker went to Cass Tech High School in the 10th grade.
Parker is a 1971 graduate of Detroit‘s Northwestern High School. He was raised in the Dexter-Grand Boulevard neighborhood on its West Side. Parker went to college at Lawrence Institute of Technology.
Parker gained recognition during the late 1960s as a member of Bohannon‘s house band at the legendary 20 Grand nightclub. This Detroit hotspot frequently included Tamla/Motown acts, one of which, the (Detroit) Spinners, was so impressed by the young guitarist‘s abilities that they included him to their touring group. Through the Bohannon relationship at 16 he recorded and also co-wrote his first songs with Marvin Gaye. Motown‘s in-house musicians The Funk Brothers soon took Parker their wing and mentored him. It was through his connections with the Funk Brothers that Parker, as a teenager, was employed as a studio musician for the emergent Holland-Dozier-Holland‘s Invictus/Hot Wax stable, as well as his choppy style was particularly common on “Want Ads“, a number one singles for Honey Cone. Parker was later employed by Lamont Dozier to appear on his first two albums for ABC Records.
In 1972, Parker was a guest guitarist on Stevie Wonder‘s funk song “Maybe Your Baby“ from Wonder‘s album Talking Book. He also was the lead guitarist for Stevie Wonder when Wonder functioned as the opening act on the Rolling Stones‘ 1972 tour. In 1973, he became a sideman in Barry White‘s The Love Unlimited Orchestra, prior to developing Raydio, an R&B band, in 1977, with Vincent Bonham, Jerry Knight, and Arnell Carmichael. Parker appeared briefly in the 1974 film Uptown Saturday Night as a guitarist in the church picnic scene.
Parker also wrote songs as well as did session work for The Carpenters, Rufus and also Chaka Khan, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder (an association which prompted a permanent transfer to Los Angeles), Deniece Williams, Bill Withers, Michael Henderson, Jean-Luc Ponty, Leon Haywood, The Temptations, The Spinners, Boz Scaggs, David Foster, Rhythm Heritage, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Honey Cone, Herbie Hancock, Tina Turner, and Diana Ross.
Parker‘s very first bona fide hit as a writer was “You Got the Love“, co-written with Chaka Khan and recorded by Rufus. The single hit # 1 on the R&B charts as well as # 11 on the pop charts in December 1974. In 1976 he worked as rhythmic guitarist for Lucio Battisti‘s album Io tunoi tutti, translated as “Me you and all of us“.
1977— 1981: Raydio
Raydio scored their first big hit, “Jack and Jill“, from their self-titled album in 1978 with Arista Records. The song reached # 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, earning a gold single as well as gold album in the process. Their follow-up song, “You Can’t Change That“, was released in 1979 from the Rock On album. The song was another Top 10 hit, peaking at # 9 on the Billboard chart during the summer as well as selling a million copies.
In 1980, the band ended up being called RayParker Jr. and Raydio. The band released two more albums, Two Places at the Same Time in 1980 and also A Woman Needs Love in 1981 both gold albums. In 1981, he produced the hard funk single “Sweat (till you get wet)“ by Brick. Throughout the 1980s, Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio had two Top 40 hits (“Two Places at the Same Time“ – # 30 in 1980 as well as “That Old Song“ – # 21 in 1981) and also their last and biggest hit, “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)“, released in 1981, went to # 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts and to # 1 on the R&B Charts for two weeks in 1981.
Raydio broke up in 1981. Parker proceeded with his solo career, scoring six Top 40 hits, including the hit single “The Other Woman“ (Pop # 4) in 1982 as well as “Ghostbusters“ in 1984. “Ghostbusters“ went strait to # 1 for three weeks on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, and also at # 1 for two weeks on it’s Black Singles chart. The song was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1984 however lost to Stevie Wonder‘s “I Just Called to Say I Love You“ from The Woman in Red. Parker‘s song secured him a 1984 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. Other hits from this period included “I Still Can’t Get Over Loving You“ (Pop # 12) and also “Jamie“ (Pop # 14).
Parker was one of the first black artists to venture into the then-fledgling world of music videos. In 1978, Hollywood producer Thom Eubank produced several music videos of songs from Raydio‘s first, eponymous album on Arista Records. The single “Jack & Jill“ was the first released to air on Wolfman Jack‘s Saturday night TV show, The Midnight Special. The music videos were also transferred to film and projected in movie theaters all throughout Europe. He also made two different videos for his hit “The Other Woman“. The first was Halloween-themed as well as focused around a haunted castle with dancing corpses and also vampires. The second was more performance-oriented, with Parker performing the song against an outer space background with backup singers. Parker‘s “Ghostbusters“ video, helmed by the film‘s director, Ivan Reitman, was one of the first movie-themed videos to find success on MTV.
Parker at the Montreux Jazz Festival 2009, Montreux, Switzerland
Parker also wrote and produced hits for New Edition (“ Mr. Telephone Man“), Randy Hall, Cheryl Lynn (“ Shake It Up Tonight“), Deniece Williams (“ I Found Love“), as well as Diana Ross. He performed guitar on several songs on La Toya Jackson‘s 1980 debut album. In 1989, he also wrote “Ghostbusters“, a rap performed by Run-D.M.C., for the movie Ghostbusters II. 1989 also saw Parker work with actor Jack Wagner (General Hospital) on an album for MCA Records that was at some point shelved as well as never released. A single from the Jack Wagner sessions,“Wish You Were Mine“, including an intro rap by Parker, was released on a 1990 MCA promotional sampler CD. In 2006, Parker released a new CD entitled I‘m Free. Parker is also the founder and also owner of the Los Angeles-based recording facility Ameraycan Recording Studios. Parker also composed the title music and also soundtrack of the animated series The Adventures of Tintin, which was broadcast in 1991 and 1992.
In July 2016, Parker performed on the ABC network‘s TV show Greatest Hits.
In 2014, Parker was invited by producer Gerry Gallagher to record with Latin rock legends El Chicano along with Alphonse Mouzon, Brian Auger, Alex Ligertwood, Siedah Garrett, Walfredo Reyes Jr., SpencerDavis, Lenny Castro, Vikki Carr, Pete Escovedo, Peter Michael Escovedo, Jessy J, Marcos J. Reyes, Salvador Santana, and David Paich, as well as is included on guitar on the song “Something Got Me Started“ from Gallagher‘s most recent studio album due out in 2019.
Ghostbusters Theme Song Lawsuit
In 1984 Huey Lewis took legal action against Columbia Pictures and Parker, stating that the melody to the Ghostbusters theme song infringed on the copyright of the Huey Lewis and the New song “I Want a New Drug“, which had been released on their album Sports the previous year. The three parties reached a settlement in 1995 which prohibited them from revealing any kind of details that was not included in a press release they jointly provided at the time. In March 2001, Parker filed a suit against Lewis for breaching part of the settlement which restricted either side from discussing it publicly.
Parker also made acting appearances on the 1980s sitcom Gimme a Break, 1984 CBS Saturday morning kids‘ show Pryor‘s Place (for which Parker appeared in the opening title sequence singing the theme song), Disorderlies(1987), Enemy Territory (1987), Charlie Barnett‘s Terms of Enrollment (1986) (V) also known as Terms of Enrollment (USA: short title), two episodes of Berrenger‘s(1985), and Uptown Saturday Night (1974). He was also a production assistant for the film Fly by Night (1993 ). He made guest appearances on 21 Jump Street as well as Kids Incorporated. In early 2009, Parker appeared in a TV ad for 118 118, a British directory enquiries provider. This included Parker singing a 118-specific version of the Ghostbusters theme song.
On 15 April 2009, Parker‘s 118 theme song was offered as a downloadable ringtone from the 118 118 mobile website. In 2014, Parker appeared in the fifth episode of the first season of NBC‘s romantic comedy TV series A to Z, singing the “Ghostbusters“ theme song for a Halloween party. Parker was highlighted on TV One‘s series, Unsung in the fifth season.
Parker‘s dad died of cancer on March 12, 1992, at age 82; his mom died of Alzheimer‘s on December 18,1993, at age 83. At age 40, in 1994, he married his wife, Elaine. They have four sons: Ray III(Little Ray), Redmond, Gibson, and also Jericho. In 2014, Parker received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to music.
On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Ray Parker Jr. among hundreds of musicians whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.
Year Title Record Label
1982 The Other Woman Arista.
1983 Woman Out of Control Arista.
1985 Sex and the Single Man Arista.
1987 After Dark Geffen.
1991 I Love You Like You Are MCA.
2006 I‘m Free Raydio Music.
Year Title Record Label
1982 Greatest Hits Arista.
1984 Chartbusters Arista.
1990 The Best of Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio Arista.
1993 Greatest Hits Arista.
1998 The Best of Ray Parker Jr. .BMG/Arista.
1999 Ghostbusters: The Encore Collection BMG.
2000 The Heritage Collection Arista.
2011 S.O.U.L. Sony Music.